Obtaining an employment-based Green Card is the most common arrangement if you’re considering moving to the United States for work. The employment-based Green Card process allows a U.S. employer to sponsor you, making it possible to work and become a permanent resident.
At Avazian & Avazian, our Los Angeles employment-based Green Card lawyers can guide you through the employment-based Green Card steps, helping you receive your Green Card and start on the path to naturalization.
Types of Employment-Based Green Cards
There are five types of employment-based (EB) Green Cards. Most EB visas require an employer’s sponsorship, meaning your employer must petition on your behalf by initiating the process to obtain a Green Card. However, depending on your circumstances and the type of visa you may be eligible for, you may be able to self-petition instead.
- EB-1: First-preference workers. You may apply under this category if you’re exceptionally skilled in your field, for example, a leading academic or a high-ranking manager in a multinational company. You may be able to apply on your own, or your employer may need to start the application process.
- EB-2: Second-preference workers. This category applies to people with exceptional skills in arts, sciences, or business and those with advanced degrees. If your job in the U.S. requires an advanced degree, you could also qualify. However, most applicants will need a Labor Certification from the U.S. government unless a special national interest waiver applies.
- EB-3: Third-preference workers. This EB status is for skilled workers with at least two years of experience, professionals with a bachelor’s degree, and other workers with less experience. Regardless of your background, you’ll need a full-time U.S. job offer and Labor Certification to qualify.
- EB-4: Fourth-preference workers. Known as special immigrants, this category includes religious workers, certain minors under special protection, some physicians and broadcasters, and various U.S. government employees.
- EB-5: Fifth-preference workers. You may qualify for an EB-5 if you have at least $1.8 million ($900,000 in certain sectors) and your investment creates or maintains at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers. You, your spouse, and dependent children can apply for permanent residence if you meet these criteria.
Steps to Take to Obtain Your Employment-Based Green Card
Getting an employment-based Green Card in the U.S. is a complex but rewarding process. It involves the following steps that you can complete with the help of a Lawyer for Los Angeles employment-based Green Cards:
- Find a U.S. employer. Secure a job offer from a U.S. company willing to sponsor your Green Card application.
- Labor certification. Often, employers must get approval from the Department of Labor to prove no qualified U.S. workers are available for the position.
- File Form I-140. Your sponsoring employer submits an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (I-140) to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Wait for the visa number. After the I-140 is approved, wait for a visa number to become available. This can vary based on annual quotas for each employment-based category.
- Apply for a visa or adjust your status. Apply for an immigrant visa if you are outside the U.S. If you’re already in the U.S., you can apply to change your status to a permanent resident.
- Submit documentation. Be prepared to provide essential documents like academic records, employment letters, and financial statements to prove your eligibility.
- Attend an interview. Whether in the U.S. or at a consulate abroad, you’ll typically undergo an employment-based Green Card interview process to assess your eligibility. After the interview and document submission, USCIS or the consulate will review your application, and you’ll await their decision.
- Receive decision. You’ll receive formal communication about whether your application for a Green Card has been approved or denied. If approved, you’ll get your Green Card in the mail or a visa stamp in your passport to enter the U.S. as a permanent resident.
- Receive your Green Card. Upon approval and after paying an immigration fee, you’ll receive your Green Card, granting you legal permanent residency in the U.S.
How a Los Angeles Employment-Based Green Card Lawyer Can Help
Understanding the application process can feel overwhelming regardless of which type of EB Green Card you need to obtain. The Green Card lawyers at Avazian & Avazian can help you with the following:
- Legal advice. Our lawyers are experts in immigration law. We can provide expert advice tailored to your case’s unique circumstances.
- Choosing the right category. Our lawyers can help you determine the applicable employment-based category and guide you through the process.
- Gather documentation. Our team can help you navigate the employment-based Green Card steps, including filling out and filing all necessary USCIS forms and documentation on your behalf. We can also help you gather evidence demonstrating that you meet your EB category requirements.
- Preparing for the USCIS interview. We can give you tips, guidance, and recommendations to complete the employment-based Green Card interview and increase your chances of success.
Employment-based Green Card processing times vary depending on the type you are applying for. The average employment-based Green Card processing time ranges from a few months to several years. You can check the status of each category by visiting the USCIS Processing Times portal.
Although the H-1B visa and EB Green Cards are related to employment, an H1B is a temporary work visa with an expiration date. An EB Green Card grants lawful permanent residency status.
In most cases, receiving an employment-based Green Card grants you permanent resident status. It does not obligate you to continue working for your sponsoring employer or at the same job. However, some EB visas and employment contracts may have additional requirements.